Russia: Pressure escalates on Sochi corporate sponsors

Author: Human Rights Watch, Published on: 30 January 2014

...Corporate sponsors of the Sochi Winter Olympics should act now to urge Russia to halt the rising tide of discrimination, harassment, and threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, 40 of the world’s leading human rights and LGBT groups said... in an unusual joint open letter. The letter to all of the leading sponsors of the Sochi Olympics asks them to use their leverage...in a variety of concrete ways. The groups urged sponsors to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law, which violates the Olympic Charter’s principle of nondiscrimination, and to ask the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to undertake systemic reforms to monitor and prevent human rights abuses in future host countries...The joint letter is addressed to the 10 TOP Sponsors of the Sochi Games...Atos, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, and Visa. The Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, and several other groups have engaged with the sponsors for nearly a year to urge them to act on abuses...Preparations for the Sochi Games have been marred not only by anti-LGBT discrimination but also other rights abuses, including exploitation of workers on Olympic venues and other sites in Sochi, forced evictions, environmental and health hazards, and intimidation and harassment of journalists and activists seeking to document these abuses.

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Related companies: Atos (formerly Atos Origin) Coca-Cola Dow Chemical General Electric McDonald's Omega Watches (part of Swatch) Panasonic Samsung Visa Inc.